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Sunday, September 30, 2018
Kavanaugh’s Rage and Self-Pity Should Be Enough to Disqualify His Nomination to the United States Supreme Court
Regardless of the FBI investigation of Kavanaugh’s alleged sexual assault, do we want a Supreme Court Justice who lacks self-control, integrity, and impartiality but not hubris; a person who is also entitled, unprincipled, noncommittal, vitriolic, vindictive, conspiratorial, mendacious, fractious, temperamental and self-pitying?
Kavanaugh’s rage is surely commensurate with his sense of entitlement, his stunted emotional development; his blustering conspiratorial theories; his displacement; his irrelevant, repetition of his qualifications; his appeal to pity and ridicule; his selected instances; his begging the question; his purposeful diversions; and his inconsequential rationalizations—Glen Brown
“Beyond whatever was self-serving and pure lies in Kavanaugh's testimony, what we saw—the operatic rage, the contempt, the tears, the fury, the hauteur, the blinking anxiety—was the expression of one of the experiences that I tried to identify in my book as being at the heart of conservatism: not just loss, but felt loss. And not just ambient sorrow but a militant avowal of desired recovery.
“When conservatism is in its ascendancy, it is able to connect that particular feeling of loss, the loss of one social class, to a more universal constituency. When it is in retreat, it has a much more difficult time making that sense of loss speak across the population, of making it travel far and wide. In the coming weeks and months, we'll see which of the two situations we're in...
“All the things that repelled us—the rage, the contempt, the tears—were exactly what his constituency identified with. Because it was expressing something quite real: that he is facing a genuine threat to his position, not just on the Supreme Court but as a sexual harasser, as a man who has the right to control women, to expect women to be his playthings, as an elite man who did all the right things that come with his class privilege (both going to Yale and Yale Law School, working his way up the judicial ladder, and the homo-social male bonding of treating women with contempt), and he is now facing the prospect of losing it all.
“Not losing his judgeship, obviously, but losing the trajectory of power that he was on. I think to his constituency those things are very real—and if the left is doing its job, his constituency isn't wrong to feel these things are losses. Because they are losses. That doesn't mean the losses aren't justified! They are justified. But for people with privilege and power, justice and equity and fairness are genuine constraints and losses”—Corey Robin
“…[Kavanaugh] is not suited to a lifetime appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. Because of his self-pity and rage. Because of the way he shredded the idea that he can be an impartial arbiter on the high court when he accused Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee of seeking ‘revenge on the behalf of the Clintons’ and ‘left-wing opposition groups.’
“Because of the insulting way he spoke to Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar when she asked whether he ever drank so much he could not remember what happened. (‘You're talking about a blackout,’ he said in a nasty tone. ‘I don't know. Have you?).
“Because he refused to give a straight answer about whether he would support an FBI investigation into Ford's charges. Because he interrupted Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal who was in the middle of asking a question, then had the cluelessness to say, ‘Let me finish.’
“Kavanaugh's anger may be understandable in a man who claims — hyperbolically — that his life and family have been ‘destroyed’ by what he says are false allegations of sexual assault. But they are hardly what we deserve or expect in a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, which has so much control over Americans' lives, especially women's…
“It was clear that Kavanaugh's Judiciary Committee supporters don't particularly care whether or not he assaulted Ford all those years ago at a high school party. And they knew — all 11 men — that they could not trust themselves to come off as caring, so they hired Rachel Mitchell, an Arizona sex-crimes prosecutor, whose plodding questions seemed to infuriate them. They wanted fireworks. She was a wet blanket.
“Their pent-up rage exploded after Ford finished her testimony. They sidelined Mitchell, and turned their wrath on Democrats, who were accused of withholding information in order to delay the confirmation until after the midterm elections, when Democrats have a fighting chance of gaining the majority in the Senate and could scuttle Kavanaugh's nomination.
“In tones verging on hysteria, they railed about the timing of the allegations (as if there is a good time to step forward alleging you've been attacked by a Supreme Court nominee). I've never seen a theatrical outburst like Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham's display of self-righteous anger, sparked by Democratic Sen. Richard J. Durbin's simple assertion that if Kavanaugh truly cared about clearing his good name, he should want to have the FBI investigate Ford's claims. ‘God help anyone else that gets nominated,’ Graham said, forgetting that Neil M. Gorsuch was confirmed last year with barely a ripple.
“Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said to Democrats on the panel: ‘What you want to do is destroy this guy’s life, hold this seat open and hope you win in 2020. You’ve said that, not me.’ Sen. Orrin G. Hatch's outraged voice broke as he scornfully dismissed the idea that anyone would care what had happened in high school. And yet, Ford had very specifically discussed the ‘anxiety, phobia and PTSD-like symptoms’ that she had felt, intensely, in the first four years after the assault, and intermittently thereafter. Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, forgetting his recitation of ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ during a Senate filibuster, called it ‘one of the most shameful events in the history of the United States Senate.’
“Again and again, Kavanaugh, 53, was described by his supporters as a victim — not of Ford, because of course, it's no longer acceptable to publicly attack a victim of sexual assault — but of Democrats. Ford, they said, was a victim, too. Of Democrats. Just as I believed Anita Hill in 1991, I believe Christine Blasey Ford. I wouldn't put Kavanaugh in jail for what he did when he was 17, but I sure as hell wouldn't put him on the Supreme Court” (Do we really want a man consumed with rage, self-pity and hate on the Supreme Court? by Robin Abcarian).